Chronic groin pain can be a troubling and on occasion disabling symptom that affects between 5-10% of patients who undergo an inguinal hernia repair. Reasons for this are unclear although a number of patient and operative factors have been identified. It was thought that entrapment of the ilio-inguinal nerve might be a factor leading surgeons to plan to divide the nerve at surgery to prevent it becoming trapped.
Although planned division of the nerve may reduce severity and frequency of pain for up to 6 months after surgery, this effect is not maintained and after 12 months there is no differences in pain between those who underwent nerve division and those where the nerve was not dividied. However, not unsurprisingly, this group has a loss of sensation.